Proverbs 16:9 NIV
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”
When I was 18 years Jed, my best friend at the time, and I went winter camping over my Christmas break. While shivering in our tent in our sleeping bags one of us stated, and I don’t remember who to blame now; we should hike the Appalachian Trail. With the idea firmly planted in our minds-it took seed in our brains and we talked about it for the next several days.
Over the next couple months, we researched the Appalachian Trail and learned at that time it was the longest continuous hiking trail meandering over many states along the east coast from Maine to Georgia for about 2100 miles. Many people, we learned, took about 6 months to complete this arduous journey. It sounded perfect. We decided to hike from Maine to Georgia since we lived in Maine.
We started out on our journey in early June. We climbed the top of Mt. Kathadin in Baxter State Park in Maine with packs that each weighed close to 90 pounds-to give you some perspective-as an 18-year-old I probably weighed 120 pounds dripping wet. We stood out looking from the top of Maine’s largest peak knowing that for the next many months our course had been set-we would be walking along a trail marked only by white rectangles for about the next 2000 miles.
Having completed the Appalachian Trail just before Thanksgiving, I can assure you that God did establish my steps.
Many times, throughout the long journey, God graciously and abundantly provided my steps for me when my own strength, hope, and will power failed.
I am certain that many of us are in a similar situation this week.
Our course has been laid and we are proverbially standing on the top of the mountain looking ahead to the journey before us. 2 Corinthians 3:17 reminds us that “Where the spirit of Christ is; there is freedom.” We might be in the middle of a journey but need only trust that God will establish our steps.
I look back fondly on my time hiking the Appalachian Trail. I remember the breaks on ridges looking out over the multicolored forests below as the fall had settled into the valley or during the summer swimming in lakes and rivers along the trail feeling as though there were two worlds: the world I was in and the rest of the world. Other times it was hard. Hiking many miles a day and sleeping on the ground night after night as the seasons changed from summer to fall.
Throughout my life I have set the course but I know now that I couldn’t have done it without God establishing my steps.
May it be so,
Rev. Lou Ward
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